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Citrus Heights police have been awarded a $145,000 grant through the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for funding DUI checkpoints, saturation patrols, and safety enforcement in the city.
In a Sept. 8 memo to the city council, Police Lt. Jason Russo said the grant seeks “to reduce the number of driving under the influence incidents within the City of Citrus Heights, and provide for a safer driving environment for the community.” He said funding is included for five DUI and driver’s license checkpoints, 35 “DUI saturation patrols,” one motorcycle safety enforcement operation, 14 traffic enforcement operations, and 15 distracted driving enforcement operations.
The grant also provides funds for a new Traffic Safety Unit trailer to carry checkpoint equipment and other supplies, as well as funds to send several officers to DUI recognition training.
According to a document provided to The Sentinel by Lt. Russo, $20,000 will go to fund the 35 “saturation patrols,” which refers to officers specifically deployed to pull over drivers exhibiting signs of intoxication. Lt. Russo said $35,000 is also allocated for DUI and driver’s license checkpoints, which he said cost about $7,500 per operation.
The lieutenant’s memo also said the city has had “many issues” with DUI collisions and related deaths. Data previously provided by police show a total of 73 DUI-related collisions and 340 DUI arrests in Citrus Heights last year.
Traffic safety grants are awarded based on safety rankings and crash statistics compiled by OTS, according to Lt. Russo, with the worst and most dangerous ranked cities typically being awarded more funds. In 2013, the most recent year OTS data is available, Citrus Heights had 437 injury or fatal collisions and was given an overall safety ranking of 71 out of 103 cities in its size class — with a ranking of “1” being the most dangerous city and 103 being the safest.
By comparison, Rancho Cordova had a lower — or worse — overall safety ranking of 51 out of 103 cities, and Folsom ranked 46 out of 103.
Funding for the $145,000 OTS grant originates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which annually administers over $500 million in federal funds to state agencies across the United States, who in turn distribute the funds to various local agencies.
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